The Mail on Sunday says Tottenham have forced Real Madrid to wait until Monday's deadline day to get their hands on Bale because they wanted to make it as hard as possible for other Premier League clubs, not least close rivals Arsenal, to bolster their squads before the window slams shut at 11pm.
The revelation will ratchet up the intensity in the first north London derby of the season, at the Emirates this afternoon, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s delaying tactics will probably only stall rather than prevent Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger from doing business.
Levy did not want Madrid to complete Bale’s signing sooner because they would then have pushed out players such as Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria - both Arsenal targets. If the Bale deal had been done last week, it is conceivable both might have lined up today for the Gunners against Tottenham.
For the big stories and the banter follow us on Twitter: @tribalfootball